COVID-19 Updates

COVID-19 PRACTICE FAQ

Current as of November 21st

This FAQ will be updated as new questions come in and as additional information and details become available. Most current updates will be shown in BLUE text.

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GENERAL PRACTICE  |  HOME-BASED PRACTICE & MOBILE PRACTICE  |  PPE  |  CLEANING & SANITATION  |  SCREENING  |  SELF-ISOLATION  |  FINANCIAL SUPPORT  |  INSURANCE  |  MTAM MEMBERSHIP  |  JOB AND VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITIES

 


GENERAL PRACTICE

Q. Are RMTs included in the mandatory business closures announced on November 10th and which begin on November 12th?

A. No. Registered Massage Therapists may continue to practice under our current guidelines and any additional guidelines recommended by MTAM in order for the public to access therapeutic services.

 

Q. Are  Home-Based and Mobile RMTs affected by the new restrictions annouced on November 19th which pertain to home visits and public gatherings?

A. No. See below for more details.

 

Q. Do the new restictions impact my clinic reception area or other public common areas?

A. No. The current guidelines already require clinics to use phyisical distancing strategies in the public spaces of your clinic. Areas such as shared hallways and reception rooms should be monitored to avoid having too many people congregating at the same time. 

Please continue to use staggered schedules and strategies such as having clients wait in their vehicles until you are ready for them. This will help manage your indoor public spaces effectively.

 

Q. I sell gift cards, gel packs and other items in my clinic. Can I continue selling them at this time?

A. Some items are considered essential and some are not.

The Essential Items list refers to:

  • Health-related products such as prescription drugs, over the counter medication, vitamins and supplements, birth control and first aid products
  • Gift cards were added to the essential items list beginning November 22nd.

In the context of a massage therapy practice essential items may include items such as gel packs, taping supplies, analgesics, exercise tubing and other items that are relevant to a client's treatment plan.

Non-essential items include gift ware, salt lamps, and other non-therapeutic items. Non-essential items may still be sold via online ordering, mail order and curbside pickup.

 

Q. I often feel uncertain if I should still be practicing even though we’re still permitted to practice. Should I still be practicing?

A. MTAM cannot make that decision for you. Our responsibility and obligation to members is to provide information and support to assist them in making this decision for themselves. The Board of Directors recommends that members continue to follow current public health orders as they pertain to RMTs. 

To continue practicing or suspending your practice is a very personal decision that depends on a number of factors (your ability to procure PPE and other supplies, personal health, financial, family obligations, contractual obligations, etc.) Members are encouraged to discuss their situation with all relevant individuals to help them make the best decision for their situation. 

If at any time or for any reason you feel that you can't take the precautions necessary to reduce the risk of transmitting COVID-19, you should not practice.

 

Q. What are my options if I want to continue practicing at this time?

A. Options include:

  • Continue to provide massage therapy at this time and follow enhanced sanitization, hygiene, PPE, and other safety protocols that are currently in place.
  • Continue to provide massage therapy but reduce your business capacity as appropriate for your practice to minimize risk within your practice setting. A business capacity restriction has not been mandated, but it remains an option if it's appropriate for your practice situation and to allow best practice protocols to be implemented.
  • Continue to provide massage therapy but limit your practice to urgent care only to further minimize risk within your practice setting. The urgent care restriction has not been mandated, but it remains an option if it's appropriate for your practice situation and to allow best practice protocols to be implemented. Urgent Care Guidelines

Regardless of whether you continue practicing or if you must temporarily suspend practice, please contact MTAM if you have questions regarding your particular situation.

 

Q. What steps do I need to take to temporarily suspend my practice? 

A. Once you have discussed this within your clinic, create your message and email or phone the patients who need to be rescheduled. 

Don’t forget to let them know that you’ll be in touch as soon as is reasonably possible to reschedule their appointments. Update your clinic voicemail outgoing message as needed. Place a notice on your website and any applicable social media pages as well. 

It is important to educate your patients about the reason for taking this action and its relevance to preventing the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

Consider posting a notice on your clinic door for helping to maintain safety and security (e.g., No cash or valuables left on site.)

MTAM has posted templates for patient notifications and clinic signage in the Member Portal under Covid-19 Updates.

 

Q. What can I do while my practice is closed?

A. If you have found it necessary to temporarily close your practice or if a shut-down becomes mandated by the government, you can take this time to make sure you are as ready as possible for the day when you can return to practice, be as successful as possible for the rest of your career, and devote some time to your own self-care activities.

Just because you’re not currently working doesn’t mean you can’t review your business plan and develop new marketing strategies, if appropriate, that you can use when you go back to work. Review policies and procedures or develop new ones to help fine-tune business practices. Once you go back to work, what strategies will you use to ensure your old patients will come back? How will you attract new patients? These are some things you can think about whenever you have to temporarily suspend practice. Just because you’re not working doesn’t mean you can’t work on your business!

With more time on your hands, it’s also a great time to expand your knowledge and prioritize continuing education. Complete the MTAM Self-Assessment Tool in the Member Portal to help identify strengths to build on and weaknesses to improve upon.

There are many great educational resources you can access from home. There are ebooks, videos, podcasts and articles available that can help you reach your educational goals. Visit the MTAM Coming Events page for many free or subsidized events. Contact MTAM if you have any questions regarding possible education activities.

Take Time for Self-Care

There’s a lot of stretching and strengthening you can do to make sure your fingers, hands, wrists and forearms are in top shape to get back to work. This article goes over a few easy stretches that RMTs can do from the comfort of their homes, to make sure they’re in top physical condition to go back to work.

Although you aren’t currently dealing with the day-to-day physical and mental stresses that come with a massage therapy practice, it’s still important that you make the time for self-care. You are now experiencing new stresses regarding your finances, your health, your business and the uncertainty of the situation. Developing a self-care routine that works for you can help you cope with that stress.

Many people find it helpful to practice meditation – whether that’s traditional seated meditation, walking meditation or any meditative activity. This gives you the opportunity to focus on the “now” and letting any stressful thoughts fall by the wayside.

Many people find practicing mindfulness to have a similar effect. Mindfulness simply means being aware of the moment you are in, quietly acknowledging it without reaction and then letting any stressful or distressing thoughts to float from your mind. You can also be mindful of your breathing. Taking slow, deep breaths in and out while focusing solely on your breathing can help keep you feeling calm and focused.

It’s also important to stay as physically active as possible. Regular physical activity is essential to maintain good physical and mental well-being. Developing an at-home exercise routine can help you by both bringing some structure to your days and giving you the rush that many people get from exercising, and acts as a mood-elevator.

There are many other things you can do to take care of yourself, including but not limited to journaling, trying a new healthy recipe, connecting virtually with family and friends, or reading or watching something that will make you laugh.

 

Q. How do I return to practice when it’s time?

A. When a mandated shut-down has been lifted and/or you feel ready to resume practice, select a return date and begin contacting all patients whose appointments were cancelled in order to reschedule them.

Reassure patients that you will continue to follow all hygiene and sanitization standards as recommended by the federal and provincial health authorities.

Pre-screening questions are a best practice and should be used on an ongoing basis.

All Standards of Practice, including but not limited to documentation, hygiene, sanitization, and risk management regarding infectious conditions, should continue to be followed.

 

Q. I operate a home-based practice. Am I still permitted to practice?

A. There is no one-size-fits-all answer as it depends on many factors and may differ from person to person.

Some home-based practitioners have separate entrances to their clinic space, separate washrooms or are more easily contained away from your family/personal household space. This may make it easier to minimize risk of transmission in your practice setting. 

Others may require the client to walk through common areas of the home before they reach the home-clinic space which potentially increases the client's contact with common surfaces and other people residing in the home. 

The following scenarios help illustrate:
1. A home-based practice is located in an area of the house in which the client must walk through several rooms before entering the home-clinic space. There are multiple people residing in the house who cannot reasonably avoid all the areas that the client will come in contact with as they enter the home and home-clinic space.

This creates a greater challenge for the RMT as there is more area to sanitize between clients and is more difficult to maintain physical distance in the common areas outside the home-clinic space. Further, if any of the family members are self-isolating in the home while waiting for test results it would be inappropriate to have clients entering this type environment.

2. A home-based practice is located in an area of the house with a dedicated entrance or is a stand-alone structure on the home property. Clients have no contact with space shared by the family residing there and are less likely to encounter anyone at any point during their appointment or while arriving or leaving.

This environment carries less added risk and is similar to an out-patient clinic setting. The RMT can more easily carry out sanitization and physical distancing protocols. 
 

There are many variations in between each of these scenarios. Therefore, each home-based practitioner should do a risk assessment of their practice setting. Some of the questions to ask as part of your risk assessment:

  • Are reasonably able to sanitize the area and surfaces in your home that your clients will come in contact with.
  • Can you reasonably prevent your clients from contacting anyone residing in your home?
  • Is anyone in your home self-isolating while awaiting test results or if they’ve been confirmed to have COVID-19?
    • This would likely prevent you from practicing in the home until the person has been cleared from self-isolation. Public Health will provide more specific guidance regarding self-isolation in this case.
  • Is anyone in your home immunosuppressed and/or at higher risk of complications from contracting COVID-19?


If you are not able to reasonably reduce risk in your home-based practice, home-based practitioners should suspend practice until you are able to implement further risk reduction safety protocols or until the overall pandemic risk has decreased. Alternatively, they may choose to offer mobile services during the time in which they cannot operate within their home office.

Please contact MTAM if you have questions about your particular home-based practice.

 

Q. Can I still operate my mobile practice?

A. Yes. RMTs are still permitted to make home visits. Mobile RMTs should continue to implement screening procedures, use of required PPE, meticulous cleaning, sanitation and hygiene procedures. Please contact MTAM if you have questions regarding your mobile practice.

Please review the Shared Health PPE protocols for In-Home (mobile) practice.

 

Q. Do the new restrictions regarding home visits and public gatherings announced on November 19th affect my ability to continue operating my home-based or mobile practice?

A. No - the new restrictions do not prevent home-based or mobile practices from operating provided they continue to follow all previously recommended practice guidelines.

Home-based health professionals are still permitted to have individual clients attend their home to receive massage therapy treatments.

Home-based practitioners may also continue to see clients who are family members from the same household who generally schedule treatments together and minors who attend with a parent/guardian. As with all RMT practice settings, use strategies to avoid having individuals waiting unnecessarily inside your home-based practice reception/waiting area.

RMTs providing mobile massage therapy are still permitted to provide treatments in their clients' homes. 

 

Q. I work in a spa/gym/fitness centre which has been mandated to close. As an RMT can I still practice in that location?

A. Yes - However the final decision may lie with the facility owner. If the facility has closed and you, as a contractor, need permission to access the facility you might need to temporarily suspend practice. 

If you would like MTAM to advocate to allow you to continue practicing, please contact MTAM for assistance or direct your facility owner to contact MTAM.

 

Q. My child's school has sent home a questionaire and one of the questions asks if I am a Critical Services Worker. How do I respond?

A. After receiving clarification from Public Health, we can confirm that you should respond "Yes" to this question.

 

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PERSONAL PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT (PPE)

Q. Do both RMTs and patients need to wear masks?

A. Yes – Under the current Public Health orders both RMTs and patients must wear masks in public spaces and whenever physical distance cannot be maintained.

 

Q. What kind of mask should we wear?

A. RMTs may wear medical or non-medical masks. Reusable non-medical masks must:

  • be made of at least 3 layers
    • 2 layers should be tightly woven material fabric, such as cotton or linen
    • the third (middle) layer should be a filter-type fabric, such as non-woven polypropylene fabric
    • if you have a 2-layer mask they can often be modified by opening the side and inserting a filter-type fabric layer in the middle and re-stitching the side 
  • be large enough to completely and comfortably cover the nose, mouth and chin without gaping
  • allow for easy breathing
  • fit securely to the head with ties or ear loops
  • be comfortable and not require frequent adjustments
  • be changed as soon as possible if damp or dirty
  • maintain its shape after washing and drying

Hearing Impairment and Masks

For some Manitobans, the use of masks may create additional communication challenges. If you're hearing impaired, or interact with people who use lip-reading to communicate, consider wearing a clear mask.

If a clear mask isn't available:

  • use written communication or decrease background noise as much as possible
    • if writing, don't share writing items. Provide a sanitized pen/pencil for the person to use.
  • maintain at least a 2-metre distance if you must rely on lip-reading to communicate
    • only the person speaking should remove their mask while communicating

Clear masks can also be used in settings where facial expression is an important part of communication.

Health Canada has guidelines for the use of non-medical masks, including those that are home-made, how to add a filter layer, providing general information, directions for how to put on, remove and clean masks, and sew/no sew instructions.

 

Q. What is the proper procedure for wearing and storing a mask?

A. The following resources and videos demonstrate how to don (put on), doff (take off) and store a mask. Proper procedure for wearing eye protection is also included.

Donning and Doffing Face Masks (MTAM Video)
How to properly don PPE (video)  (Shared Health MB)
How to properly doff PPE (video) (Shared Health MB) 
https://sharedhealthmb.ca/files/extended-use-of-face-masks.pdf

 

Q. What is the process for storing masks in paper bags? 

The process for storing masks in paper bags is available here: https://sharedhealthmb.ca/files/extended-use-of-face-masks.pdf. Re-use of masks after breaks is only applied to masks in green zones. 

A video demonstrating the process is also available here: https://vimeo.com/403797242 

 

Q. How do I properly dispose of single-use masks and other disposable PPE?  Are they considered hazardous waste?

A. While soiled/used masks and PPE are not considered hazardous waste, they should be disposed of with care. 

Use a covered trash receptacle. Touch-free trash cans lined with a trash bag are recommended. 

Perform meticulous hand hygiene after handling used PPE.

 

Q. I find that some PPE causes skin related issues – how can I prevent injuries? 

Please reference the following Shared Health MB document: COVID-19 Tips for Extended PPE Use. This document contains information to assist with a variety of concerns including:

  • Mask wearing
  • Eye protection
  • Face shields
  • Dry hands due to frequent hand hygiene 

 

Q. Do I need to wear eye protection? 

A. Yes. As per Shared Health and MTAM Guidelines, eye protection should be used in all practice settings.

While eye protection can be warm and uncomfortable, droplet contact precautions require you to cover your mucous membranes – including your eyes, as these are the points of concern with both direct and indirect transmission. 

This MTAM video demonstrates proper Donning and Doffing of Eye Protection

 

Q. When storing eye protection/goggles in plastic bags, how often should the plastic bag be replaced? 

A. If goggles are being disinfected as per the PPE protocol and with appropriate hand hygiene done prior to accessing the bag, it is expected that the bag will be usable a minimum of a full shift. In the event that it becomes damaged or contaminated, replacement will be required. 

 

Q. Must everyone wear a mask at all times? Are there any exceptions? 

A. Public Health and MTAM recognize that there are some situations in which wearing a mask is not appropriate. People who do not have to wear a mask include:

  • a child who is under five years of age;
  • a person with a medical condition that is unrelated to COVID-19, including breathing or cognitive difficulties, or a disability which prevents them from safely wearing a mask; and
  • a person who is unable to put on or remove a mask without the assistance of another person.

As per Public Health guidelines - If you or someone you provide care for is either unable to properly wear a mask or has a medical condition that does not allow you to wear a mask, a doctor’s note or a note from another health care provider is not required.

 

Q. Normally my clients are able to safely and comfortably wear a mask but are uncomfortable wearing one when lying prone. Do they have to wear a mask at all times during their appointment?

A. The Public Health order allows for individuals to temporarily remove their mask while in an indoor public place to receive a service that requires the removal of their mask.

MTAM recommends that members take extra precautions if they or their client are not required to wear a mask or at any time they or their client need to temporarily remove their mask. Extra precautions may include:

  • Client uses a face shield as an alternative to a mask if mask is temporarily removed.
  • Treating clients in supine or side-lying so that they'll be more comfortable keeping their mask on.
  • Creating a barrier around the face cradle to allow clients to remove their mask while lying prone. These videos demonstrate face cradle "hammocks" using fabric barriers. 

Other precautions may be used as appropriate for your practice.

 

Q. I'm having trouble finding the PPE and cleaning supplies that I need. Is there a list of sources can I try?

A. This may be an ongoing challenge from time to time depending on the supply chain and current demand.

MTAM has found some ADDITIONAL PPE SOURCES to assist members.

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CLEANING & SANITIZATION

Q. What should I be using to clean surfaces between patients?

A. Common touch areas include those in both customer and employee accessed areas. These surfaces need to be cleaned and sanitized between each patient and as needed using:

For additional cleaning and sanitization information also refer to the PPE Resource page.

A NOTE ABOUT CLEANING TOOLS USED IN YOUR PRACTICE:
Any tools used in your practice, including but not limited to IASTM tools, cups and hot stones, must be able to be sanitized. 

Tools that are made of porous materials may not be able to be properly sanitized and should not be used at this time.

IASTM Tools and Cups:

  • Wash your tools and cups thoroughly with soap and water.
  • Sanitize tools and cups in a bath of one of the following chemicals: 
    • 6% to 7.5% hydrogen peroxide; 
    • 2% glutaraldehyde; 
    • 0.2% peracetic acid; or 
    • 2% to 7% enhanced action formulation hydrogen peroxide and 0.55% ortho-phthalaldehyde (OPA).

Once the tools/cups have soaked in the chemical bath of your choice for the contact time indicated by the manufacturer or the table listed in either of the two references below, then the instruments can be removed from the bath, rinsed with water and left to dry. Once dry, they are ready for re-use.
Click here for more details

Ontario Agency for Health Protection and Promotion (Public Health Ontario). Provincial Infectious Diseases Advisory Committee.  Best Practices for Environmental Cleaning for Prevention and Control of Infections in All Health Care Settings, 3rd ed.  Toronto, ON:  Queen’s Printer for Ontario:  April 2018 https://www.publichealthontario.ca/-/media/documents/bp-environmental-cleaning.pdf?la=en

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. Guideline for Disinfection and Sterilization in Healthcare Facilities. (2008): February 2017 https://www.cdc.gov/infectioncontrol/guidelines/disinfection/tables/table1.html

Hot Stones: 

  • Allocate 20 minutes for sanitizing stones after each hot stone treatment.
  • Add 1 TBSP (15 ml) of bleach to mild dish soap or stone wash and hot water.
  • Place stones in the sink or basin. Wash and scrub each stone. The small amount of bleach will kill bacteria.
  • Drain and rinse stones well with clean, hot water.
  • Lay all stones on a clean towel and allow to air dry.
  • Prior to use, heat stones at 56 °C / 130-140 °F. Use a few drops of tea tree essential oil in your tank for additional anti-bacterial and cleansing properties.

Alternatively you may also place the stones in a dishwasher on the sanitize cycle.

Hydrocollators: MTAM contacted one of the larger manufacturers of hydrocollators (Chattanooga/DJ Orthopedics) to inquire about sanitization procedures. Their response is as follows:

If you keep the hydrocollator unit set at the recommended temperature (160F) at all times, no additional sanitization is needed in relation to the covid situation. 
Covers should be laundered between every use and the packs themselves can be cleaned with soap and water.

MTAM also recommends that you use a wipeable plastic or vinyl cover on the packs for easier sanitization. Plastic or vinyl pillow covers may be useful here.

 

Q. Do all items used/contacted by a client need to be replaced or sanitized after each client?

A. Yes. Whether the item was contacted directly or indirectly by the client, it must be cleaned and sanitized before being reused with another client. If it cannot be cleaned and sanitized, it should not be reused.

Pillows, bolsters, table warmers etc. must be covered by a non-porous, wipeable cover which can be cleaned and sanitized between each client.

All linens, blankets, towels etc. that were in contact with the client must be laundered after each client even if the item was not in direct contact with the client (see note below). 

Note – Layering cloth/porous items between other cloth/porous items is not effective at preventing the transmission of COVID-19 (for example - a blanket placed between 2 top sheets or covering a cloth pillow with multiple cloth pillowcases).  Cloth covers are porous and cannot be appropriately sanitized without laundering.

 

Q. What do I need to know about laundering linens?

A. Linens should be washed with detergent and water at the highest water temperature setting and dried at the highest temperature. 

Store clean linens away from soiled linens. Enclosed cabinets or covered storage bins are recommended.

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SCREENING

Q. How do I screen clients and when should they be screened?

A. Depending on your practice, there are several opportunities when clients can be screened. There are also certain times that will provide enhanced safety for both client and RMT. 

Screening clients at the time of scheduling – This helps identify if it’s appropriate for the client to have an appointment scheduled at that time or if it should be scheduled for a later date. Screening can be done through your online booking system or by phone depending on your processes.

Screening during the appointment reminder – This is helpful to identify if the client’s health status has changed since they booked their appointment and may give you added time to allow you to fill a newly opened time slot in the event the client does not pass the screening.

Screening before the client enters the clinic – This can be done by having the client call when they arrive but before they enter the building or by having signage up on the clinic door for clients to self-screen (the latter is not as effective).

Screening once the client has entered the clinic but before the treatment has begun – Both RMT and client must be wearing masks and maintain appropriate physical distance while screening is occurring.

In all cases the Shared Health Screening Tool should be used to identify if it is safe to proceed with scheduling/continuing with an appointment or if the individual should contact Health Links or report directly for testing.

Any symptomatic individual may report to a testing facility without a referral. TESTING LOCATIONS

 

Q. Some clients do not pass/will never pass the Screening Tool depending on their occupation or other unique circumstance. Does that mean that I can never provide a treatment to them?

A. Frequently, RMTs will have to do a risk assessment and use their professional judgement to determine how to proceed. 

Essential workers, front-line workers who are in contact with symptomatic individuals, etc., are examples of clients who may always fail a screening questionnaire. 

There is no single correct answer that will suit all RMTs and all practice situations. It is up to the RMT to assess the risk for the client, themselves and their practice to determine whether or not to proceed with the treatment.

Appropriate pre-screening of clients will help identify potentially challenging situations before a client arrives for an appointment and allow you to schedule the client with another RMT in the clinic, refer the client to another clinic, or postpone the appointment until the risk level is lower.

Things to consider as part of your risk assessment:

  • Does the client wear FULL PPE while at work (mask, eye protection, face shield, gown, AND gloves)? These individuals may be better protected from transmission than members of the general public who wear minimal PPE.
  • Are there other precautions you can take during the treatment to minimize risk (for example - RMT wears FULL PPE that can be changed between clients)?
  • Are you, the RMT, at higher risk of complications due to COVID-19 or do you care for others who are at higher risk for complications?

Depending on your responses to these questions or if there are additional questions or concerns, you may or may not be comfortable treating the client at this time.

MTAM supports an RMT’s decision that is made in the best interest of their health and safety. 

If you do need to decline to treat a client who has not passed the screening questionnaire, communicate to the client the reasons for needing to cancel or postpone a treatment and provide options for the client so that they can continue to receive care in a timely manner if that’s appropriate in the situation (schedule with another RMT, provide self-care tips in the interim, reschedule for a later date if appropriate).

If you are ever in doubt as to whether to treat a client because they have not passed the screening questionnaire, refer the person to Health Links for more information.


Q. The recommended screening does not include taking my patients' temperature. Do I need to do this and if so, how should I do this?

Current guidelines do not specify that it is mandatory to take your patient's temperature when they arrive in your clinic. However, MTAM recommends adding this to your screeing protocol

Contactless thermometers can be purchased from a variety of sources. Please refer to our PPE Resource list for some possible sources and follow the manufacturer instructions for use.

Advise patients in advance that a temperature reading is part of your screening process.

 

Q. I'm an RMT who is showing mild symptoms consistent with COVID-19. What do I do?

  • The RMT should report for testing. Public Health will advise them on the next steps and regarding self-isolation.
  • The RMT should cancel appointments or notify the clinic owner to cancel their appointments, and self-isolate until test results have been received (this may take 3-5 days depending on how busy the testing centres are).
  • If the RMT tests positive, Public Health will advise on the protocol for self-isolation. The RMT must follow Public Health instructions to minimize exposure to the public. The RMT will not be able to work until they are cleared by Public Health.
  • Members of your household may have to isolate as well until you have received your test results. Public Health officials will provide specific guidance if this is required.
  • Follow routine precautions and the instructions as listed below:
    • An employee/contractor at my workplace tested positive. What information should I provide to other employees and clients?
      • Businesses are advised not to provide any personal health information about an employee/contractor or client to staff or clients.
      • Public Health conducts a public health investigation to determine if someone who is confirmed to have COVID-19 was at work during the time they were infectious.
      • Public Health officials work closely with people who have tested positive for COVID-19. This includes addressing their health concerns and determining who they may have had close (2 metres/6 feet), prolonged contact with when they were infectious.
      • Public Health officials will then directly contact every person deemed to be a close contact, defined as having had significant exposure to the positive COVID-19 individual when they were infectious. 
      • Public Health makes contact as quickly as possible with all identified contacts.
      • If any additional measures need to be taken at your workplace, Public Health officials will call you directly to provide advice.

 

Q. I have received a negative COVID-19 test result but still have symptoms. How long do I need to continue self-isolating?

A. If your COVID-19 test results are negative, but you have symptoms, and have travelled or been exposed to a case, you will need to continue to self-isolate (quarantine) for 14 days and until you have been symptom free for 24 hours. 

If your COVID-19 test results are negative and you have not travelled or been exposed to a case, you need to isolate until you have been symptom free for 24 hours. 

For additional information on self-isolation and self-monitoring please review the Shared Health PDF Isolation for Individuals with Symptoms and/or Waiting for COVID-19 Test Results.

 

Q. A person living in my household has cold or flu-like symptoms and is self-isolating at home while waiting for their COVID-19 test results. Do I need to self-isolate and if so, for how long?

A. You will need to self-isolate until the person in your household has received their negative test results. You may then return to work provided that you are symptom free.

 

Q. One of my clients has symptoms consistent with COVID-19 but has either not yet reported for testing or is still waiting for their test results. What should I do?

  • Advise the client that they should report for testing. Public Health will advise them on the next steps and regarding self-isolation.
  • Cancel the client’s appointment until further direction is received from Public Health and/or they have received test results back.
  • If the test is negative, Public Health will advise them regarding self-isolation. The client should follow Public Health direction before rebooking their massage therapy appointment.
  • If the test is positive, wait until Public Health has cleared the client to end self-isolation before proceeding with rebooking their appointment.
  • If the client has tested positive, Public Health will be in touch with you if you've been identified as a close contact and need to self-isolate.
  • Follow routine precautions and see instructions listed in the previous FAQ for what information you should provide to other employees/staff and clients.

These Fact Sheets are made available by the Government of Manitoba and provide additional information on self-monitoring, self-isolating, and caring for individuals who are recovering from COVID-19 at home. Additional versions in other languages will be made available on the Government of Manitoba website.

Testing advice and recommendations may change as the outbreak continues to evolve.

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FINANCIAL SUPPORT

Q. I'm required to self-isolate for 14 days by Public Health. Do I qualify for one of the new federal benefit programs?

A. The Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB) came into effect on September 27, 2020 and is available to workers who are sick or must self-isolate for reasons related to COVID-19. To be eligible you must be:

  • Residents in Canada who are at least 15 years of age and have a valid Social Insurance Number (SIN);
  • Workers employed or self-employed at the time of the application; and
  • Workers who earned at least $5,000 in 2019 or in 2020.

This benefit provides $500 per week for up to two weeks. Full details are available on the Government of Canada website

 

Q. Will I be eligible to collect the CRSB if I'm required to self-isolate longer than 14 days or if I have to self-isolate multiple times in the next year?

The CRSB is available for a maximum of 2 periods (2 weeks).

Your eligibility cannot be extended, even if you:

  • are sick or self-isolating due to COVID-19 for more than 2 periods
  • become sick or are self-isolating due to COVID-19 again between September 27, 2020 and September 25, 2021

MTAM will update members accordingly if these details change.

 

Q. I can't work because I need to care for someone due to COVID-19 (e.g., child care, caring for someone who has COVID-19). What federal benefit program might I qualify for?

The new Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit (CRCB) will be effective from September 27, 2020, for one year and provide $500 per week for up to 26 weeks per household to eligible Canadians.

Some examples of individuals who qualify for the CRCB include persons who:

  • must take care of a child who is under 12 years of age due to reasons related to COVID-19
  • must provide care to a family member with a disability or a dependent due to reasons related to COVID-19

Additional details on the eligibility requirements for collecting CRCB are available on the Government of Canada website.
 

Q. I’m still able to work but my income is reduced due to the pandemic. Is there federal support available to me?

Beginning September 27, 2020 the new Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB) will be available to workers who are self-employed or are not eligible for EI and who still require income support and who are available and looking for work. This benefit would support Canadians whose income has dropped or not returned due to COVID-19.

Additional details on the eligibility requirements for collecting CRB are available on the Government of Canada website.

 

Q. RMTs have not been mandated to close however after assessing my practice I've determined that the best course of action is to limit my overall business capacity to urgent care and/or to those who are not at higher risk of complications due to COVID-19 or to temporarily shut down my practice entirely. Am I still eligible to appy for the CRB?

A. Yes - RMTs who have reviewed their practice and based on their professional judgement have made the decision that it was necessary to limit or suspend practice for reasons related to the pandemic, will still be eligible to apply for the CRB provided that they still meet all of the other eligibility requirements.

RMTs should document their reasoning for making this professional decision in the event they are asked to provide this type of information to the government. 

If you have further questions related to your specific situation, please visit the Government of Canada website to speak with a CRB representative.

 

Q. I still have questions about CERB, CEBA and some of the other financial supports or relief available to me. Where can I find more information?

Here are several links that may be helpful:
Canadian Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) 
Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan
Business Credit Availability Program
GST Tax Deferral FAQ
Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC): Support for entrepreneurs impacted by coronavirus
Manitoba Chambers of Commerce
MNP Accountants COVID-19 Business Advice Centre
Manitoba Hydro offering payment assistance
Canadian Federation of Independent Business

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INSURANCE

Q. Is our liability insurance in effect at this time?

A. Yes. Your regular professional and general liability insurance will be intact and in effect as you continue practicing at this time. You will still need to follow all current public health orders and MTAM practice recommendations.

There is still a limitation with regard to a COVID-19 related claim; however, BFL/Trisura would look at the details of any claim. Coverage can only be determined on a case-by-case basis, upon consideration of the particular facts of any claim, together with the terms, conditions, limitations and exclusions contained in the applicable policy.

This means that the insurance company takes into account all of the safety precautions and procedures that you use and how effectively you implement them in your practice. While this does not guarantee full protection it does minimize your overall risk. 

Please continue to refer to the Return to Practice Guidelines and this FAQ as well as ongoing updates from MTAM.

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Q. Will my patients be able to be reimbursed for treatments while the Province is at the Critical/Red level?

A. Yes. Third party payers will continue to reimburse for eligible massage therapy treatments.

If you or your patients have any concerns, please reach out the patient's insurer directly to confirm.

NOTE: Members should instruct their patients to check to see if there has been any disruption to their insurance coverage if they have been not working for any length of time during the COVID-19 pandemic. If there were periods in which they were not paying into their group insurance plan, this could affect their ability to be reimbursed or the RMT's ability to receive payment through direct billing. 

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MTAM MEMBERSHIP QUESTIONS

Q. What is MTAM doing to help members protect their practices and recover as quickly as possible?

A. The MTAM Board and staff continue to work diligently to provide fast and reliable information to members. Information is meant to assist members in making informed decisions regarding their practices.

MTAM will continue to advocate for better financial support from the province during the pandemic for RMT small business owners, quicker inclusion of massage therapy into the RHPA, and the removal of GST from RMT treatment fees.

MTAM will continue create new resources and courses to help members adapt and recover from this situation. We will base new courses and resources on the questions and concerns we receive from members in the coming weeks as well as looking ahead to potential changes that may occur in the massage therapy profession in Manitoba.

Marketing and communication on behalf of members will take place to encourage Manitobans to resume seeing their MTAM RMT as long as it’s safe to do so. We will use a combination of media formats to get our message to the public. Digital media, social media, radio, TV and print ads are all being considered.

Additional business resources for self-employed RMTs, employees and employers/clinic owners are already posted on the COVID-19 page of the MTAM website.

 

Q. Will there be accommodations made to assist members whose education cycle is ending in 2020?

A. Yes. The Education & Continuing Competency Committee has elected to extend the 2018-20 and 2019-21 education cycles by one full year to allow additional time to complete professional development activities. 

Several courses and events were made available free of charge or at highly subsidized rates for members. Many courses were directly related to practice challenges during the ongoing pandemic, addressing financial challenges, and self-care as well as our regular course material. These courses provided information at critical times as well as helped fulfill professional development requirements.

Read the full ECC announcement here.

 

Q. My CPR is expiring or will expire soon. What should I do?

A. In-person training is available as permitted by public health orders, but access may be limited by some providers. MTAM will give extensions to those who need them. Members should recertify once training is again available, and update MTAM as soon as you’ve completed training.

MTAM has temporarily suspended monthly CPR recertifications for members in our education centre. Members will be notified when new course dates are available.

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HOW CAN I HELP?

Q. I’m interested in joining an MTAM Committee or volunteering for the Board. How do I go about volunteering

A. Joining a committee is a great way to make an impact and help shape your profession. It’s also an ideal way to learn more about MTAM activities before accepting a nomination to the Board. 

Visit the MTAM website for general information on our various committees and contact MTAM for more details on the committee’s you are interested in.

 

Q. Are there opportunities for RMTs to apply for COVID-19 support jobs?

A. Yes. Following advocacy on your behalf, the eligibility criteria has been updated to allow RMTs to apply for positions in the COVID-19 call centre and contact tracing department. 

Other administrative/office positions may also be applicable depending on your other work experience.

Details and applications are available on the Shared Health COVID-19 Job Opportunities page.

 

Q. I'd like to give back to my community. Is there anything else I can do to help? 

A. Yes. Many RMTs are eager to do their part to help in the fight against COVID-19. 

Help Next Door MB is a network of helpers coming together as a community.

If you are a volunteer ready to provide your support or someone who needs a helping hand through these difficult times, this platform can connect you.

Donate to Shared Health - As Shared Health continues with preparations to ensure Manitoba can meet the needs of our patients and to ensure appropriate protection from COVID-19 is available to health care workers, donations of supplies are welcome and greatly appreciated. For a list of supplies that can be donated, visit sharedhealthmb.ca/covid19/supply-donations.

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